Amendments to consumer directives to prevent greenwashing

Publication of Directive (EU) 2024/825 amending the unfair commercial practices and consumer rights directives
Amendments to consumer directives to prevent greenwashing
March 8, 2024

Main amendments introduced by Directive (EU) 2024/825:

I.        New unfair commercial practices

  • Environmental and social characteristics, as well as circularity aspects, have been added to the list of the main product characteristics that can lead to a company’s practices being considered misleading.
    • Examples of social claims will now include those related to the quality and fairness of the working conditions of the workforce involved, such as adequate salaries, social protection, safety of the work environment, and social dialogue, as well as contributions to social initiatives or to ethical commitments, such as animal welfare.
    • Examples of environmental claims will include those in which companies give the impression that, by purchasing their products, consumers are contributing to a low-carbon economy. These claims will be prohibited whenever they are not supported by publicly available commitments and targets set by the company, among other requirements.
  • Prohibition on advertising consumer benefits that are irrelevant and not directly related to product or business characteristics—for example, including the claim “gluten-free” on a product that intrinsically does not contain gluten.
  • General rule prohibiting the display of sustainability labels that are not based on a certification scheme or have not been established by public authorities.
  • General rule prohibiting companies from making generic environmental claims, such as “environmentally friendly” or “green,” unless they can demonstrate recognized excellent environmental performance.
  • Prohibition on making a generalized environmental claim about an entire product or the company’s entire business when it concerns only a certain aspect of the product or a specific activity of the company’s business.
  • General rule prohibiting the use of claims such as “climate neutral,” “carbon positive,” “reduced climate impact,” “limited CO2 footprint,” or equivalents when they do not relate to the actual lifecycle impact of the product in question.

  • Prohibition on presenting requirements that are imposed by law as a distinctive feature of a company’s offer.
  • Obligation to inform the consumer if a software update will negatively impact the functioning of the product/service, as well as the indispensability of the update.

  • Prohibition on making false claims regarding the durability of a product in terms of usage time or intensity under normal conditions of use.

  • Prohibition on claiming that a product can be repaired when it is not possible to do so.

  • Prohibition on withholding information from the consumer about the impairment of a product’s functionality when it uses consumables, spare parts or accessories that are not provided by the original producer.

  • Prohibition on misleading consumers by making them believe that the use of consumables, spare parts or accessories not provided by the original producer will impair a product’s functionality when this is not the case.

II.        New information requirement

  • Mandatory information about a product’s durability and reparability, as well as the availability of updates.
  • Additional information requirements regarding commercial and legal guarantees through the creation of harmonized labels and a harmonized notice.
  • Additional information requirements regarding the minimum period for providing software updates.
  • Mandatory information about a product’s reparability score and the availability of after-sales services, including repair services.
  • Mandatory information regarding the availability, estimated cost and ordering procedure for the spare parts needed to keep the products in conformity, the availability of repair and maintenance instructions, as well as any repair restrictions.
  • Obligation for companies to inform consumers about the availability of environmentally friendly delivery options. 

Transposition and applicability: Member States must transpose these amendments by March 27, 2026, and they will apply in Portugal from September 27, 2026. 

March 8, 2024